Graceland now includes an Elvis Presley Career Museum, Automobile Museum and more in the largest expansion since opening.
Just about a ten minute drive from Memphis airport is Elvis Presley’s Graceland. Opened to the public in 1982, the complex has invested $45 million in a massive 20,000 expansion. Here’s what you need to know about planning your visit and navigating the newly opened Graceland entertainment complex.
- Mornings are best. As with many attractions, you’ll avoid longer lines for entrance and not feel rushed through Graceland or any of its exhibits. Graceland and its attractions are open almost daily from 9:00 am to 5:00 Monday through Saturday and 9:00 am – 4:00 pm Sundays. Hours vary in December. Check the Graceland website schedule before going.
2. DON’T leave the kids at home. I really wondered how could someone who died many decades ago could continue to impress younger generations. I mean, why would a ten year old be impressed with Elvis Presley? But Graceland and it’s cars and museums have something for people of all ages. Interactive iPads with a kids version allow themselves to shoot a pictures of themselves on an Elvis body and other fun games and puzzles. Plus there are performances and even a carnival type room for kids.
3. Allow at least three hours for the tour. Besides Graceland home, there’s several exhibits worth exploring. You’ll also see an exhibit of Elvis Presley’s cars and his dynamic wardrobe. There’s even a special exhibit of his planes. DYK? When Lisa Marie was a child and had not ever seen snow, Elvis took her on his plane to Colorado for a quick jaunt in the snow. After a couple hours it was back home to Graceland.
4. Cost is quite reasonable at $57.50. Begin with the self guided tour of Graceland, complete with iPad presentation by none other than John Stamos (Have Mercy!). Don’t skip the iPad part as it gives you tons more information along with multimedia like pictures and videos you won’t see elsewhere on the tour. After touring Elvis’s home, visit exhibits such as the car collection, Elvis Presley’s wardrobe, film career with interesting facts, and several others. You’ll want to pay the extra five bucks to walk through one of Elvis’s personal planes.
5. Anyone is welcome to visit Elvis’s gravesite in the Meditation Garden free of charge every day from 7:30 a.m. to 8:30 a.m. Elvis’ parents and grandmother are buried there as well.
6. Dine at Elvis Presley’s Graceland. There are a couple restaurants on site to choose from. There’s Vernon’s Diner where you’ll find Memphis barbecue, and other Memphis favorites like fried Catfish and BBQ Spaghetti. Or visit Gladys’ Diner. Here you’ll find burgers, hotdogs, pizza, and of course, Elvis’ favorite – Peanut Butter and Banana Sandwiches.
7. Stay steps away from Graceland. The Guest House at Graceland has 450 spacious rooms and a range of contemporary facilities, including two restaurants, spaces for meetings and special events and a 464-seat theater for live performances and movies.
8. You can get married at Graceland. If you and your sweetie are die hard Elvis Presley fans, forget Las Vegas. True Elvish fans will travel to Graceland and get married at the Chapel in the Woods. Prices range from $695- $795 and package includes the chapel for 1-1/2 hours, the Officiant, two Elvis Experience + Planes tickets, a Wedding Coordinator, use of the Bridal Room and the Chapel’s Reception area and grounds, and up to a 15-minute photography session in front of the Mansion.
9. Graceland Trivia: Elvis Presley purchased the near 14 acre Graceland in 1957 for around $100k. Graceland was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1991. There are over 600,000 visitors to Graceland annually.
Entrance to Graceland and the entertainment complex starts at $57.50 per person. Children 7 – 12 are $27 and children 6 and under are free. Beat the crowds by visiting before the busy summer season. For full information on Graceland and planning your visit, check out the Graceland website.